Confirmation that Syrian weapon chemicals will be destroyed in Ellesmere Port

Confirmation that Syrian weapon chemicals will be destroyed in Ellesmere Port

Confirmation that Syrian weapon chemicals will be destroyed in Ellesmere Port

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

CONFIRMATION has finally been given that Ellesmere Port will be destroying 150 tonnes of industrial-grade chemicals from Syria’s weapons stockpile.

Waste management firm Veolia has confirmed that the chemicals will be destroyed at its site in Bridges Road as part of the international mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapon programme.

The consignment of “B Precursor” chemicals will be treated at the High Temperature Incineration facility under its existing hazardous waste treatment contract with the Disposal Services Authority (DSA), part of the Ministry of Defence.

A spokesman for Veolia said the chemicals are routinely used in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and are “similar in nature” to standard industrial materials “safely processed on a regular basis” at Ellesmere Port.

The facility is said to have passed rigorous audit inspections by relevant authorities and the chemicals will be treated in line with the stringent requirements of its strict environmental permit.

Destruction is due to take place at the end of February.

The Foreign Office reassured people that the chemicals would only become toxic if mixed with a “A Precursors”. These are being removed from Syria separately.

Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia Environnement executive vice-president, UK & Northern Europe, said:  “We are pleased to have been selected by the British Government to support this important initiative which will see our Ellesmere Port facility directly involved at the start of the implementation of the international mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons programme. 

“We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Defence and relevant UK authorities to ensure the safe destruction of these chemicals in line with our high environmental, health, safety and operating standards.”

Earlier today, Wirral Council leader Phil Davies told the Globe it was the “first I have heard of it” and had not been kept up-to-date with the disposal.

He said he found it “deeply concerning”.

Since the announcement, Cheshire West and Chester Council has sought to reassure its residents.

The proposals to destroy the weapons of mass destruction in Britain were announced on December 20 as part of international efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

A British port with suitable off-loading equipment was said to be the receiver of the chemicals, leading to speculation that Ellesmere Port and Southampton were among those being considered.

Since then, speculation has continued about where the chemicals would be taken, with Veolia’s announcement today, Thursday, confirming Ellesmere Port as the destination for their destruction.

Half of Syria’s 1,300 tonne chemical weapon stockpile is made up of extremely toxic materials used in making Saran and Vx gases, as well a small amount of mustard gas.

Those more dangerous chemicals are set to be destroyed at sea by the US Navy.

Councillor Lynn Riley, Cheshire West and Chester Council's executive member for localities said:  “We have asked Veolia whether we can have a list of such chemicals for disposal so that we can independently have those reviewed by Health Protection England to satisfy ourselves that the materials will provide no increased risk to the public.

“I understand that any treatment of such chemicals will not take place until the end of February which will provide us sufficient time, once aware of the materials themselves, to seek the expert observations of independent Health Protection Specialists.”

Ellesmere Port Councillor, Justin Madder said: “Whilst there was some speculation before Christmas about this, today is the first time we have heard anything officially.

“My understanding is that this decision is taken by Central Government and is not one we have any input into locally. The fact remains, however, that people will be understandably anxious about what this means so it is important that the local Council and Environment Agency work openly and quickly together to provide the necessary reassurance to the local public.

“The workforce at Veolia are highly skilled and experienced people and the plant has a 20-year track-record of delivering to the worlds’ highest standards but it is important that the people of Ellesmere Port have confidence in them.”

Councillor Riley added: “We can assure the Ellesmere Port public we are actively monitoring during any period of disposal.”

Opened in 1990, the facility treats approximately 100,000 tonnes of hazardous materials every year and employs 73 staff.

Comments (15)

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6:03pm Thu 16 Jan 14

spamfiend says...

Wirral Council leader Phil Davies told the Globe it was the “first I have heard of it” and had not been kept up-to-date with the disposal.

Well if I am honest, Ellesmere Port comes under Ellesmere Port and Neston Council and not Wirral so it has nothing to do with us and secondly, Cllr Davies keeps his own public in the dark on a multitude of issues so now he knows what it feels like.
Wirral Council leader Phil Davies told the Globe it was the “first I have heard of it” and had not been kept up-to-date with the disposal. Well if I am honest, Ellesmere Port comes under Ellesmere Port and Neston Council and not Wirral so it has nothing to do with us and secondly, Cllr Davies keeps his own public in the dark on a multitude of issues so now he knows what it feels like. spamfiend
  • Score: 9

8:18pm Thu 16 Jan 14

uncatom says...

Having said that, it doesn't bode well that none of the local authorities had any prior knowledge, who knows where the wind blows when the process starts, north south, east or west Wirral.
Having said that, it doesn't bode well that none of the local authorities had any prior knowledge, who knows where the wind blows when the process starts, north south, east or west Wirral. uncatom
  • Score: -2

8:36pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Thepleb says...

The amount of toxic waste that comes out of Philly Davies mouth is more concerning than this.
The amount of toxic waste that comes out of Philly Davies mouth is more concerning than this. Thepleb
  • Score: -1

9:17pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Thepleb wrote:
The amount of toxic waste that comes out of Philly Davies mouth is more concerning than this.
Ha ha ha ha ha, funny that! He keeps listening to the wrong person, that's why....funny tho....nice one Pleb.
[quote][p][bold]Thepleb[/bold] wrote: The amount of toxic waste that comes out of Philly Davies mouth is more concerning than this.[/p][/quote]Ha ha ha ha ha, funny that! He keeps listening to the wrong person, that's why....funny tho....nice one Pleb. Joeblogg85
  • Score: -1

10:03pm Thu 16 Jan 14

steady cyclist says...

Isnt ellesmere port ,the location of a huge petro chemical industry, numerous underground chemical transmission pipes, down the road a nuclear proceesing and storage plant, the other way the largest producerof Chlorine gas in the uk.

And like the incinerator at ellesmere port all run by major companies and employing well trained and skilled staff .There couldnt be a better place for it.
Isnt ellesmere port ,the location of a huge petro chemical industry, numerous underground chemical transmission pipes, down the road a nuclear proceesing and storage plant, the other way the largest producerof Chlorine gas in the uk. And like the incinerator at ellesmere port all run by major companies and employing well trained and skilled staff .There couldnt be a better place for it. steady cyclist
  • Score: 3

4:49am Fri 17 Jan 14

CA Dave says...

Being in the Environmental and Petrochemical Industry for over 50 years. I know how accidents happen and how processes work. I was born in Ellesmere Port and very concerned for relatives still living in the area. My concerns include: (1) Why the urgency and why was this a suprise to the local residents, (2) The process to be used to destroy the offgas from being emitted to atmosphere and the eficciency of this process. (3) What is the published efficiency index for this process used by Veolia? (4) What are the published efficiency index for this process with "precursor chemicals" used by the Veolia process?. Assuming Veolia has done testing. (5) Backup plans in the event of a release. (6) Security provisions?

My main concerns is not that Veolia does not know what they are doing but someone needs to check on them. The City Council of Ellesmere Port are not qualified to make this decison. We all know that accidents happen and the citizens of Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas need answers and the process should not be started until all concerns have been addressed.
Being in the Environmental and Petrochemical Industry for over 50 years. I know how accidents happen and how processes work. I was born in Ellesmere Port and very concerned for relatives still living in the area. My concerns include: (1) Why the urgency and why was this a suprise to the local residents, (2) The process to be used to destroy the offgas from being emitted to atmosphere and the eficciency of this process. (3) What is the published efficiency index for this process used by Veolia? (4) What are the published efficiency index for this process with "precursor chemicals" used by the Veolia process?. Assuming Veolia has done testing. (5) Backup plans in the event of a release. (6) Security provisions? My main concerns is not that Veolia does not know what they are doing but someone needs to check on them. The City Council of Ellesmere Port are not qualified to make this decison. We all know that accidents happen and the citizens of Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas need answers and the process should not be started until all concerns have been addressed. CA Dave
  • Score: 0

9:51am Fri 17 Jan 14

JohnON says...

uncatom wrote:
Having said that, it doesn't bode well that none of the local authorities had any prior knowledge, who knows where the wind blows when the process starts, north south, east or west Wirral.
Personally, I'd rather have these chemicals safely and swiftly shipped to Ellesmere Port where the company knows how to handle them rather than have a ship moored at the mouth of the Mersey for weeks on end while the council procrastinates with pointless "consultations" with all and sundry.
[quote][p][bold]uncatom[/bold] wrote: Having said that, it doesn't bode well that none of the local authorities had any prior knowledge, who knows where the wind blows when the process starts, north south, east or west Wirral.[/p][/quote]Personally, I'd rather have these chemicals safely and swiftly shipped to Ellesmere Port where the company knows how to handle them rather than have a ship moored at the mouth of the Mersey for weeks on end while the council procrastinates with pointless "consultations" with all and sundry. JohnON
  • Score: 3

4:28pm Fri 17 Jan 14

CA Dave says...

Or not shipped to the Mersey in the first place.
Or not shipped to the Mersey in the first place. CA Dave
  • Score: 2

9:28pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Dave17 says...

British taxpayers paying through the nose for all this presumably.
British taxpayers paying through the nose for all this presumably. Dave17
  • Score: 2

2:15am Sat 18 Jan 14

naughtykitties says...

So, we've got half of a binary weapon chemical weapon coming here from Syria? Well news reports state that the chemical weapon attacks used Sarin and it's well known nerve agents are usually mixed immediately before use.

Chances are the chemical in question is Methylphosphonyl difluoride.
So, we've got half of a binary weapon chemical weapon coming here from Syria? Well news reports state that the chemical weapon attacks used Sarin and it's well known nerve agents are usually mixed immediately before use. Chances are the chemical in question is Methylphosphonyl difluoride. naughtykitties
  • Score: 1

10:36am Sun 19 Jan 14

uncatom says...

CA Dave wrote:
Being in the Environmental and Petrochemical Industry for over 50 years. I know how accidents happen and how processes work. I was born in Ellesmere Port and very concerned for relatives still living in the area. My concerns include: (1) Why the urgency and why was this a suprise to the local residents, (2) The process to be used to destroy the offgas from being emitted to atmosphere and the eficciency of this process. (3) What is the published efficiency index for this process used by Veolia? (4) What are the published efficiency index for this process with "precursor chemicals" used by the Veolia process?. Assuming Veolia has done testing. (5) Backup plans in the event of a release. (6) Security provisions?

My main concerns is not that Veolia does not know what they are doing but someone needs to check on them. The City Council of Ellesmere Port are not qualified to make this decison. We all know that accidents happen and the citizens of Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas need answers and the process should not be started until all concerns have been addressed.
My concerns exactly, why the secrecy? non of the relevant authorities being advised in good time of the decision, they tell us it is all quite safe no need for concern yet there is an element of covertness about it all, Veolia (formally Onyx ) bungled the refuse collection service on Wirral by taking short cuts, lets hope they know what they are doing with this.

It would be interesting to know why they chose Ellesmere Port to dump their mess on.
[quote][p][bold]CA Dave[/bold] wrote: Being in the Environmental and Petrochemical Industry for over 50 years. I know how accidents happen and how processes work. I was born in Ellesmere Port and very concerned for relatives still living in the area. My concerns include: (1) Why the urgency and why was this a suprise to the local residents, (2) The process to be used to destroy the offgas from being emitted to atmosphere and the eficciency of this process. (3) What is the published efficiency index for this process used by Veolia? (4) What are the published efficiency index for this process with "precursor chemicals" used by the Veolia process?. Assuming Veolia has done testing. (5) Backup plans in the event of a release. (6) Security provisions? My main concerns is not that Veolia does not know what they are doing but someone needs to check on them. The City Council of Ellesmere Port are not qualified to make this decison. We all know that accidents happen and the citizens of Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas need answers and the process should not be started until all concerns have been addressed.[/p][/quote]My concerns exactly, why the secrecy? non of the relevant authorities being advised in good time of the decision, they tell us it is all quite safe no need for concern yet there is an element of covertness about it all, Veolia (formally Onyx ) bungled the refuse collection service on Wirral by taking short cuts, lets hope they know what they are doing with this. It would be interesting to know why they chose Ellesmere Port to dump their mess on. uncatom
  • Score: 2

5:42pm Sun 19 Jan 14

CA Dave says...

I believe Ellesmere Port was chosen due to lack of interest by local citizens and local council. It is amazing.
I believe Ellesmere Port was chosen due to lack of interest by local citizens and local council. It is amazing. CA Dave
  • Score: -2

8:55pm Wed 22 Jan 14

katswhiskers says...

Rather foolish of me, but until recently I believed I lived in a democracy.The people of Ellesmere Port had no say in a new housing development despite a petition signed by 3000 residents. Now we find the the combination of constituents used to make chemical weapons are to be incinerated at Ellesmere Port with no prior consultation with the Council or people.Dont bother with a petition because as we have seen recently the views of people living in Ellesmere Port count for nothing. In the words of Jim from the tv comedy the Royal Family -Democracy? 'my a-s-'!
Rather foolish of me, but until recently I believed I lived in a democracy.The people of Ellesmere Port had no say in a new housing development despite a petition signed by 3000 residents. Now we find the the combination of constituents used to make chemical weapons are to be incinerated at Ellesmere Port with no prior consultation with the Council or people.Dont bother with a petition because as we have seen recently the views of people living in Ellesmere Port count for nothing. In the words of Jim from the tv comedy the Royal Family -Democracy? 'my a-s-'! katswhiskers
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Phil_jacques@hotmail.com says...

Destroyed or Deployed?
Destroyed or Deployed? Phil_jacques@hotmail.com
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Fri 24 Jan 14

spamfiend says...

I cannot understand the negativity of people when we look at the broader aspect of what is getting destroyed here.

I have to ask where was the public outcry when Innospec (formerly Octel) was revealed to have been bribing officials in Iraq and Indonesia with millions of dollars in order to continue using TEL as a fuel additive, which has links to causing to brain damage in children?

ICI used their site to manufacture chlorine and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda). No shouting there either. Remember Weston??

How many more companies produce toxic, noxious and harmful chemicals that nobody has a clue about?

Maybe we just need top accept that maybe it is coming here because we are simply the best at dealing with it, and instead of shouting out against it, take a bit of pride for once.
I cannot understand the negativity of people when we look at the broader aspect of what is getting destroyed here. I have to ask where was the public outcry when Innospec (formerly Octel) was revealed to have been bribing officials in Iraq and Indonesia with millions of dollars in order to continue using TEL as a fuel additive, which has links to causing to brain damage in children? ICI used their site to manufacture chlorine and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda). No shouting there either. Remember Weston?? How many more companies produce toxic, noxious and harmful chemicals that nobody has a clue about? Maybe we just need top accept that maybe it is coming here because we are simply the best at dealing with it, and instead of shouting out against it, take a bit of pride for once. spamfiend
  • Score: 0

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